Sunday in the city

looking down the westlink

In the years just after I left school, I went into the city twice each Sunday to sing the morning eucharist (at 11) and evensong (at 7.15, with a rehearsal shortly before) at St James, King Street. In those days, the city on a Sunday was a ghost town. There was almost nobody there, except at the cinema end of town. That started to change 2 or 3 years on, with things such as street art sales on Macquarie Street next to the Botanical Gardens. More followed. Much more has changed.

Then I lived in the north; now I live in Dulwich Hill, so I approach the city from the west via the Westlink. When you drive in late in the afternoon, the whole city skyline catches the afternoon sun. There was a very dramatic effect the previous week when this was set against thunderclouds in the east and out to sea and I hoped to capture something similar this Sunday, but the day was clear and I had to be satisfied with this more prosaic view – taken, in fact, by D as I was driving. It is still a view which thrills me, because I associate it with going to concerts or to the opera and with pleasure.

And here is the bridge which I always enjoy driving over, even if (pace Nicholas Jose in Original Face) it is not possible from a car to see people falling to the water below if they decide to jump over the side.

driving over ANZAC bridge

There are far more cars on the road these days, and hardly seem to be many fewer on a Sunday. Another thing which has changed is the proliferation of residential apartment towers, especially at the southern end of the city. This is the view from the foot of Bathurst Street. As you can see, once you get into the canyons of the city itself, all is shadows.

at the foot of bathurst st

I parked not far from St James King Street (they used to say S. James’), and though I heard the bells, I was not and am no longer summoned by them. These days if I go into town on a Sunday it is most likely to be because of work. After the gloom of the city at street level, there was a treat waiting to me when I came to my office door:

into my room

OK, it’s untidy. It’s as I rushed away from it on Friday. Fixing some of that up was one reason I was there. And I was far from being the only person in there. Saturday is the quiet day in chambers; by Sunday there can be quite a few others getting things ready for a Monday-morning hearing. This Sunday, there were 6 or 7 of us there. Eventually, I will have to buy the right to rent an internal room to secure my tenure on the floor, but at present I luxuriate in natural light courtesy of a colleague who is off in a very long out of town trial. I’m a sunset kind of guy.

sunset from the window

Later, when I went downstairs to get something I’d forgotten in the car, I ran into someone I had sung with in the choir all those years ago, now retired and living on the south coast. I discovered the reason for the bells, which in these evensong-diminished times I had assumed were just being rung for practice. It was the Advent Carol Service, which he and his wife had driven up for specially, all the way from Berry. It’s a much more interesting service than the Christmas carol service, and in a way I was sorry to have missed it. I sociably said something to that effect; in truth I expect I would have found it excruciating had I gone.

5 Responses to “Sunday in the city”

  1. wanderer Says:

    Well it is a considerable improvement on that kitchen, but that’s an unusually bare wall to look at – by intent? While I don’t share your enthusiasm for the bridge (Gladesville Bridge, that’s a bridge in tune with where it is), I’m with you on sunsets.

  2. marcellous Says:

    I am but a temporary lodger there. The “owner” has still left quite a lot of stuff in the room, though he removed his painting that was on the bare wall. When I am actually sitting there, I never look up at the wall because it is just above the computer screen. I only really became conscious of the bareness of the wall when I looked at the picture.

    I do like Gladesville Bridge too, but not as much as ANZAC. I see what you mean about Gladesville Bridge being more “in tune with where it is.” I think it is the patterns from the suspension cables which make AB fun to drive over.

  3. Neil Says:

    A top post, Marcel!

  4. marcellous Says:

    Thanks, Neil. Nice to see you come out of your Google-reader-commenting shell!

  5. NK Says:

    That is a stunning sunset. BTW, you got nice view from your office too. Perhaps you can start a new blog called “An Office with a View”. :)

    Your post seemed to trigger the nostalgic feelings I had about my former workplace. I used to work in a skyscraper and from my desk, I can see the sunrise, the looming storm clouds, sweeping view of the hills and the cityscape. Ah, I really miss city life sometimes…

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